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Bread Salad

I am honored to be posting over at Cooking Healthy for Me today.  Ann is lucky enough to be visiting family in England, and asked if I would fill in for her.  Of course!!  Given that Ann is the Queen of healthy meals, I had to make something to fit in over there.  I made my absolute favorite salad.  I think the proper chef name for this salad in Panzanella, but in my family we call it Bread Salad.  Big chucks of toasty bread, tangy balsamic vinaigrette dressing, sweet tomatoes, crunchy pumpkin seeds…..yum!  Please go tell Ann I said hi, and check out this great salad.  Even my picky husband will eat this (if I leave off the tomatoes and cucumbers and add avocado and walnuts).  See it is versatile too :)



Caramel Cashew Clusters

Jen over at The Three Little Piglets is hosting 12 Days of Cookies!  How fun does that sound?  She shared her Holly Wreaths here last week, and today I get to share with you my Caramel Cashew Clusters!

I was contacted by Oh! Nuts a couple weeks ago to see if I was interested in trying some of their nuts for my holiday baking.  I made these great cookies with Macadamia Nuts, and then wanted to do something a little different with the Cashews.  This is my version of a childhood favorite we used to get every Christmas.  It is super easy to make too!

Please go check it out, and tell Jen that I said Hi!!  She also has a great giveaway going on, you won’t want to miss!

Holly Wreaths for the 12 Days of Christmas

Jen at The Three Little Piglets is having a virtual cookie exchange!  Jen emailed me to see if I would be interested in taking part of her 12 Days of Christmas Cookies.  Of course I would, what a great idea!  Today Jen is making for you Holly Wreaths.  Next week I will be making a yummy treat to share as well (hint: chocolate and caramel are involved).  Make sure you check back each day at The Three Little Piglets for other great recipes from lots of other bloggers.  She also has a great Giveaway going on you don’t want to miss.

I’m Jen Matlock, proud Navy wife, mother of three voracious eaters, and culinary student. I write EASY, healthy and delicious budget friendly recipes, with step by step instructions and tips on saving you money on groceries at The Three Little Piglets.

Every year as the holidays approach, it feels like we become more and more pressed for time. Between the shopping, the parties, and the pageants, it’s sometimes easy to lose focus on the most important part of the season – our friends and our families.

Just as important is the food we share with the people we love. Every day I am blessed by the inspiration, support and encouragement of some of the kindest and most talented bloggers, like Erin. I would love to sit down at the table (a very big table) this year and share what we all love so deeply, food.

For me, this is the time of year when I crave the foods that remind me of my childhood, the familiar smells and tastes that make me feel like I’m wrapped up in a cozy blanket, back in my grandmother’s kitchen or rolling out cookies with my mother.

One of the cookies that appears every year in my house, are my grandmother’s spritz cookies. Did you ever notice that as soon as you put the word grandma in front of a recipe it immediately gains stature?  It’s like if you know it’s been around that long, then it must be good. It’s quite a marketing gimmick really…

These cookies are soft and delicate, with just a hint of tang from the cream cheese. And super simple which is equally important in my book!

[Read more...]

Pumpkin Pie Cups with Eat Yourself Skinny

The movers finally delivered our stuff!!  I spent the ENTIRE day unpacking, and it really doesn’t look like I did very much.  We did manage to clear out the garage so we can park both cars in there, that is huge!  My Kitchen Aid is unpacked and all set up :)  Everything else is still a complete mess.  I think it will take at least a week to get everything set up.

Since I have yet to cook much in the last week, today I bring you Kelly from Eat Yourself Skinny.  Kelly has a great site offering tasty healthy recipes.  Plus gorgeous pictures! Make sure you go visit her and tell her I said Hi!

Hello there lovely readers of Dinners, Dishes and Desserts!  I’m Kelly from Eat Yourself Skinny and I’m super excited to be guest posting today!  I absolutely adore Erin {as I’m sure you all do as well!} so when she asked me to share a recipe on her blog while she was moving this week, I was completely thrilled!
There is just something about Fall that makes me LOVE this season more than any other.  Maybe it’s the cute scarves and boots we get to get all bundled up in or the pretty foliage that starts to poke its way out once the summer heat has faded away, but either way my favorite part about Fall would have to be the abundance of pumpkin recipes!  Whether I’m starting my morning off with a pumpkin spiced latte from Starbucks or enjoying a delicious pumpkin muffin for breakfast, this Fall favorite can add flare to any old recipe.  So of course I just had to do something fun and festive for Erin!
I chose to make delicious Pumpkin Pie Cups which are perfect healthy alternatives to your typical slice of indulgent pumpkin pie.  Best part is you can have one whole bowl for only 172 calories and ZERO grams of fat!
Yes I said zero.
Doesn’t get much better than that and I promise you they taste delicious.  I loved the slight crunch the cornflakes added to this dish and the combination of pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg was amazing!  Make these for guests at your next dinner party or throw this together when you want to indulge in something sweet without having the unnecessary calories.  It’s so quick and easy!
Note to self however, when taking pictures…make sure to strategically place the spoons so you can’t see yourself AND your camera in them.  FAIL.  Oh well!  Hope you enjoy these treats as much as I did!
Pumpkin Pie Cups
Servings: 4
Serving Size: 1 dish
Calories: 172
Fat: 0 g
Carbs: 37 g 
Fiber: 1 g
Protein: 6 g
Old Points: 3.2 pts
Points+: 4 pts
Here are your ingredients:
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home cookbook
1/4 cup coarsely crushed cornflakes
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp packed brown sugar, divided
1 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 tsp. + 1/8 tsp. ground ginger, divided
3/4 cup fat-free milk
3/4 cup solid-pack pumpkin
2 Tbsp corn syrup
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/3 cup cholesterol-free egg substitute
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  For topping, combine cornflakes, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/8 tsp. ginger in a small bowl.  Mix well and set aside.
For filling, heat milk in small saucepan over medium heat.  Do not boil.  Combine pumpkin, remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar, corn syrup, cornstarch, remaining 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ginger and nutmeg in large bowl.
Stir hot milk into pumpkin mixture.  Add egg substitute andwhisk until smooth.  Pour into four 6 oz. oven proof custard cups or ramekins.  Sprinkle evenly with topping.  Place cups in a baking pan and carefully add hot water to about 3/4-inch depth.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Enjoy!
Thanks again for inviting me to guest post Erin!  If you’d like to see more skinny recipes or just want to stop over and say hi, check out my blog any time!


Rosemary Bread: Guest post with Pass the Sushi

Today all of our stuff is scheduled to be delivered at our townhouse.  As I write this, that is the plan at least :)  Needless to say, this week there will not be a lot of cooking happening.  Or last week either, since my kitchen was all packed up.  So I asked a few of my favorite bloggers to  help me out!  Kita from Pass the Sushi is the first one I am bringing to you.  If you are not familiar with Kita, I suggest you run over there (as soon as you read this of course), and look around.  She has stunning pictures, as well as over the top delicious food!  She dedicated a whole week to Man Food last Father’s day, and oh the Desserts!  It might be a good thing that we aren’t neighbors, I would never stay on a diet!  
Ok, enough from me….here is Kita from Pass the Sushi!
Hi I’m Kita from Pass the Sushi and I have been reading Erin’s moving adventures recently and getting totally excited for her! I am sure that it is horribly stressful moving a household across the country, but it also sounds so fun! It’s like a brand new adventure in a brand new place, and while I’m sure there will be adjustments – there’s something about the idea of picking up and moving that just seems good for the soul. Then again, I’ve never moved more than 25 miles at once so who am I to talk.
I have been super proud of Erin for continuing to post, be a mom and pack all at the same time. I’m throwing a bridal shower this week and am ready to throw my hands in the air. I can’t pretend I have the skills to pull off everything she’s managing right now.
Enough of my ramblings! You guys are here for the goodies right?
Copy-Cat Rosemary Bread from Macaroni Grill
From Food Network Magazine April 2011
·         1 1/4 oz packet active dry yeast
·         2 teas sugar
·         2 tbs  extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing and serving
·         2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
·         2 tbs dried rosemary
·         n>1 teas fine salt
·         3/4 cup water
·         12 teas kosher salt
·         freshly ground black pepper
Sit the yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup warm water in a large bowl. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Add 1 tbs olive oil, the flour 1 1/2 tbs rosemary, the fine salt and 3/4 cup water; stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, dusting lightly with flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
Brush a large bowl with olive oil. Add the dough, cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until more than doubled, about 2 hours.


Brush 2 baking sheets with olive oil. Generously flour a work surface turn the dough out onto the flour and divide into 4 pieces. Working with one piece at a time, sprinkle some flour on the dough, then fold the top and bottom portions into the middle. Fold in the sides o make a free-form square. Use a spatula to turn the dough over, then tuck the corners to form a ball. Place seam-side down on a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, putting 2 balls on each baking sheet. Let stand, uncovered, until more than doubled, about 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the loaves 10 minutes; brush with olive oil and sprinkle with the kosher salt and the remaining 1/2 tbs rosemary. Continue baking until golden brown, about 10 more minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Serve with olive oil seasoned with pepper.

Peanut Butter Cookies – Healthy and Gluten Free

Today I am guest posting for Kym over at Free Spirit Eater.  If you have not met Kym, you need to go check her out!  She has all kinds of delicious treats, that make you want to run to the kitchen.  I received my very first Blog Award from her when I first started blogging back in April. 

In honor of Peanut Butter Lover’s Month, Kym asked me to make something that was peanut butter, but on the healthy side.  I made Peanut Butter Cookies that are less than 100 calories each, and are Gluten Free!  They have to be one of the best Peanut Butter Cookies I have ever had.  And you really don’t have to be a good baker to make these – so easy!!

Go check out these great cookies and tell Kym I said Hi! 

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today I am over at La Casa De Sweets!  I was thrilled when Jackie asked me to do a guest post for her.  She is a wonderful blogger, with all sorts of delicious treats to share.  Not only does she make great food, but she supports great causes.  When you go to her site you see all sorts of great charity’s and causes to End Hunger around the world. 

Don’t miss these great cookies!  I found a bag of Cherry Flavored Craisins in my cupboard, and turned them into cookies.  Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies to be more specific!  They were chewy and oh so good! 

So go say Hi to Jackie, and check out these cookies!

Cherry Limeade Cocktail with Chef Dennis

Cherry Limeade Cocktail

If you are looking for me today, I am over with Chef Dennis at A Culinary Journey.  Yes, you heard me right….CHEF DENNIS!!!!  I know, I was shocked when he asked me too.  I mean, really, he is Chef Dennis.  A real live chef.  And I am on his radar?  Wow!

Anyway…I made this amazing cocktail that is a knock-off of the Cherry Limeade at Taco Bell.  I don’t usually make cocktails, but this one was so good!

So head on over to A Culinary Journey and check it out.  Tell Dennis I said Hi!

Vanilla Bean Shortbread

I am excited to be guest posting over at Caleigh’s Kitchen today!  I was so happy when Amber emailed me and asked me to guest post.  I love her site.  She is very creative, and makes wonderful things in the kitchen.  Amber is visiting one of my favorite parts of the country this week, Yellowstone!  I am jealous!  But, I did get to eat this shortbread, so at least it was a decent consolation prize!

So head over to Caleigh’s Kitchen and find out more about this yummy Shortbread!  While you are there check out a few of Amber’s other great recipes…Oreo Cupcakes, Chocolate Mousse with Mint Whipped Topping, Pots de Creme, Taco Salad…ok, that is enough – Just go look!

Guest Post – Cinnamon Roll Scones

I am so excited to introduce to to Cassie today!  She has a wonderful site over at Bake Your Day where she makes delicious treats, and shares wonderful tips!  Cassie is a sweet, kind, caring and generous friend.  I am very glad to have “met” her!  I think she had me in mind when she came up with this recipe – it is absolutely perfect for my family.  So sit back, relax, and meet Cassie!

Hi guys!  I’m Cassie and I blog about baking, cooking and life over at Bake Your Day.  I love Dinners, Dishes and Desserts and I am so excited to be here blogging for Erin while she is on vacation!  Enjoy my scone recipe and I hope to see you soon at Bake Your Day!  

There aren’t many flavor combinations that I like as much or better than cinnamon and sugar.  If you read my recent cheesecake post it also talked about flavor combinations.  I would normally say that I’m on a combination kick and then my husband, Paul, would make fun of me for saying that I’m on a “kick.”  I do say that often and he likes to make fun of me for it.  Sometimes I get on a roll, and I go with it!  No pun intended there.  But since I mentioned it…
I have always loved cinnamon rolls and my family has always had an incredible knack for making them.  I enjoy making them myself but sometimes I just want the flavor combo without having to take the time to actually make the rolls.  Yes, I could reach for Cinnamon Toast Crunch (my favorite unhealthy cereal) or Cinnamon and Sugar Pop Tarts (also very unhealthy) or just make some plain cinnamon toast.  However, I’ve had scones on my “to-bake list” for a while now so I came up with these, my quick version of the cinnamon roll: a cinnamon roll scone (still not the healthiest but totally worth it!)
As a side note, let me say that I am a huge coffee drinker.  Everyone knows that scones go pretty well with coffee.  “Scones go pretty well with coffee” is an understatement for these beauties.  The cinnamon and sugar is a great compliment for a strong cup of joe. 
The scones came together so quickly.  I learned to love the center of the cinnamon roll the best and these scones reminded me so much of the center of a cinnamon roll.  The texture is that of a scone but they are airy and moist and I wanted to eat the whole batch.  I made the classic icing that my mom always made as a kid.  Super simple and gooey!  And the best part is that these can be ready in as little as 30-40 minutes.  Perfect for a last minute breakfast or morning get-together!
Cassie’s Cinnamon Roll Scones

For the scones:
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup + 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
6 Tbs. unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
For the filling and topping:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Line a medium baking sheet with parchment paper. 
Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder salt and sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl and combine well with a whisk.  Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or two forks.  Continue to mix until the mixture is crumbly and resembles the consistency of sand.
In a small measuring cup, combine the milk and vanilla.  Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour the mixture over the dry ingredients.  Gently stir the dough with a fork just until combined and a cohesive dough forms.
Combine filling ingredients in a small bowl and crumble most of it into the dough.  Gently knead the mixture into the dough, leaving some streaks.  You want it to somewhat resemble the streaks of a cinnamon roll.  You’ll see what I mean. 

Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and form a large circle, about 8-9 inches in diameter and about 1 inch thick.  Sprinkle the remaining topping over the dough.  Cut into 8 wedges and transfer to the baking sheet.  
Bake for about 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cook slightly on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack. 
Adapted from Baking Bites
My Mom’s Cinnamon Roll Icing
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbs. milk
1-2 cups powdered sugar

v class="MsoNoSpacing">Mix vanilla, milk and powdered sugar together in a small bowl.  Stir with a wire whisk or fork until combined.  To reach a thicker consistency, add more powdered sugar.  To thin out, add more milk.  Taste and enjoy!